National Geographic, Gallup and Dan Buettner, author of Blue Zones of Happiness, recently announced The 25 Happiest Cities in the United States. The rankings are based on an index of 15 metrics including civic engagement, walkability and healthy food options. Boulder, Colo., tops the list. 


The study established 15 metrics—from eating healthy and learning something new every day to civic engagement, financial security, vacation time and even dental checkups—that signal happiness. The National Geographic Gallup Special/Blue Zones Index draws on nearly 250,000 interviews conducted with adults from 2014 to 2015 in 190 metropolitan areas across the United States.

In happier places, according to Buettner, locals smile and laugh more often, socialize several hours a day, have access to green spaces, and feel that they are making purposeful progress toward achieving life goals. “If you want to get happy, don’t try and change your belief system. Change your environment,” he says.

National Geographic’s 25 Happiest Cities in the United States

  1. Boulder, Colorado
  2. Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California
  3. Charlottesville, Virginia
  4. Fort Collins, Colorado
  5. San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California
  6. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
  7. Provo-Orem, Utah
  8. Bridgeport-Stamford, Connecticut
  9. Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
  10. Anchorage, Alaska
  11. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida
  12. Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, California
  13. Salinas, California
  14. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
  15. Urban Honolulu, Hawaii
  16. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  17. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California
  18. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  19. Manchester-Nashua, New Hampshire
  20. Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, California
  21. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia
  22. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minn., Wisconsin
  23. San Diego-Carlsbad, California
  24. Portland-South Portland, Maine
  25. Austin-Round Rock, Texas

VIA | National Geographic, “These Are the Happiest Cities in the United States

Photo: Boulder, Colo. via istock